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Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate  United States Province

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Solidarity with the Fast for Families Seeking Immigration Reform December 14th, 2013

1504144_10200817076938892_573122049_n[1]On November 12th, activists and faith leaders in San Antonio, Texas, offered support to the fasters on the Mall in Washington, D.C. calling for the US Congress to take action on immigration reform. As the D.C. fast came to an end, members of the San Antonio community participated in two activities designed to keep consciousness of the effects of the fast alive.

In the morning, a press conference was held at the Cesar E. Chavez Education and Legacy Foundation to announce the beginning of the passing of the “cruzita” (cross), much like Cesar Chavez did during his famous hunger strike. The Foundation passed a cross to its members asking them to fast for at least a day, to let people know why they are fasting, and then to past the cross on to someone else.

In the evening, as people gathered for prayer and Mass at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church in the inner city, the Foundation came to the church to announce the passing of the cruzita and to ask organizations and individuals, “Who will join this fast?” Community volunteers made small crosses and offered them to people as they entered the church. All 20 crosses that were made were accepted and more could have been distributed. San Antonio will continue to raise its voice for justice and dignity for immigrants.

(With gratitude to Patti Radle, a member of the Oblate JPIC Committee who helped to organize this fast for families, and Fr Bob Wright OMI, who also participated in the event.)

Bob Wright and Patti Radle are on the left.

Bob Wright and Patti Radle are on the left.

 

 


Religious Leaders Press JP Morgan Chase to Reinvest in Virginia County Hit Hard by Foreclosures June 20th, 2013

Fr. Seamus Finn, OMI calls for justice from JP Morgan Chase

Fr. Seamus Finn, OMI calls for investment in mortgage-devastated communities from JP Morgan Chase

Northern Virginia Religious leaders marched this morning to JP Morgan’s DC offices after the Bank refused to invest adequately in Prince William County, VA. The county was hard hit in the mortgage crisis, and the investment is needed to re-build the blighted communities.

Fr. Seamus Finn, OMI and the Oblates, as investors in the major banks, have been supportive of the community effort to deal with the mortgage crisis, through VOICE (Virginians Organized for Interfaith Community Engagement). Fr. Finn spoke at the rally, calling on the JP Morgan Chase to make a meaningful investment in the community. Watch a video of the speech on YouTube.

VOICE leaders plan to meet with Federal Regulators in the next month to ask them to sanction the bank for predatory lending practices, and to investigate credit card robo-signings in Northern Virginia.

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JPIC Staff Visits Bangladesh May 3rd, 2013

Khasi VillageChristina Herman, JPIC Office Associate Director, visited Bangladesh in late March/early April. Her daughter, Emma, accompanied her, taking thousands of photos and copious notes. Fr. Joseph Gomes, OMI graciously hosted a ten day trip around the Sylhet region of NE Bangladesh, which provided a fascinating look at the lives of the indigenous Khasi people and the issues confronting their villages. The Oblate mission in Bangladesh started in the Sylhet region, and there are a number of parishes among the indigenous peoples of the area.

Frequent national strikes (or hartals) called by a political opposition determined to undermine the government made the trip challenging, but the group covered a lot of ground.

Sharif Jamil, Buriganga RiverKeeper

Sharif Jamil, Buriganga RiverKeeper

In Dhaka, Christina teamed up with the Bangladesh WaterKeeper, Sharif Jamil, in an examination of environmental and labor issues related to the leather and garment export industries. They visited the Buriganga River, leather tanneries north of the city, a massive garment factory, and had a number of informative meetings with factory owners and managers, labor union organizers, and environmentalists.

Polluted Water from Leather Tanneries

Polluted Water from Leather Tanneries flows into the Buriganga River

The tanneries are a large source of pollution for the main river flowing through Dhaka, a megacity of an estimated 18 million people. Millions depend on the rivers for bathing, washing clothes, and transportation, yet they are heavily polluted with industrial and human waste. Human Rights Watch recently issued a study of the health impacts of the tanneries, which matched the findings of this trip. Untreated industrial waste flowing from the garment factories is common. A huge factor in the pollution is the lack of adequate sewage treatment for the city’s burgeoning population.

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New Library Center inaugurated in Killinochchi, Sri Lanka April 12th, 2013

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A state of the art library in Killinochchi, North Sri Lanka was officially inaugurated in February of 2013. The library center was a wonderful initiative of Fr. Jeevendra Paul OMI and the Oblates of Jaffna in partnership with Lebara Foundation, UK. It is a vitally important development in the rebuilding of the north after a devastating civil war.

The Lebara Library will maintain an important collection of books, journals and reference materials for the use of the children and adults of the community. A language lab will assist the children and adults to become competent in English as a second language. Other foreign languages will be added according to need.

The I.T. Unit consisting of twenty-eight computers offers access to the Internet and web, an essential element in meeting the demands of a globalized world.

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Solar Roofs in the Oblate Delegation of Pakistan January 24th, 2013

Oblate Philosophate, Lahore roof with solar panels Fr. Basharat EXUPEAR OMI (right) with Oman Ashraf

Several houses in the Oblate Delegation in Pakistan have been blessed with solar energy systems. On three roofs, solar electric panels stand facing the sun, which convert sunlight into electricity. These houses are: Mazenod House (Superior’s residence) Lahore; Oblate Philosophate, Lahore; and Oblate Juniorate, Multan.

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March for Life 2013 January 18th, 2013

The March for life this year is on Friday, January 25th . March for Life is an annual march in Washington DC to protest the 1973 Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion.

Big crowds for the annual March for Life protest are expected to hit Washington, as hundreds of thousands of pro-life supporters attend the 40th anniversary event.

Each year, Missionary Oblates in Washington, DC host seminarians attending the March to Life rally. We are looking forwarding to hosting a group of seminarians again in 2013.

Learn more at www.marchforlife.org/

 

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